SAN ANTONIO – West Side community members are trying to decide how to put to use the historic Plaza Guadalupe on the corner of Brazos and Guadalupe streets.
The city of San Antonio held its third community meeting Tuesday to ask the public what it would like to see planned for revitalization, improvements and community events for the plaza.
District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales said the city has set aside an additional $100,000 in next year’s budget to help make improvements to the facility and plan events to draw in the community.
“We know programming spaces and inviting community people to participate is a way to keep the community safe,” she said.
The plaza was fenced up a few years ago following illegal activity on the property involving drugs and loitering.
Antonio Diaz said he wants the fence removed.
“For kids to have a safe zone is progress, and it should be for the use of the community, not chained up and fenced in,” he said.
Jesse Rodriguez is on the other side of the issue. He thinks taking away the fence will invite criminals to return. He remembers how the property was vandalized and disrespected.
“If you leave it open, it won’t be a safe place. They will take over,” Rodriguez said about criminals.
Gonzales said the possibility of having a more visually appealing fence is being considered.
“Having controlled access might benefit the plaza, as it was designed for a meeting space and as a venue. It's not a park, it’s a venue space,” Gonzales said.
Gabriel Q. Velasquez, executive director for the Avenida Guadalupe Association, said the organization recently started opening up the facility to the public during business hours, and it’s been working so far. But they want to be really careful with how the community plans for future use and improvements to the property.
“We don’t want something that will work. We want something that will last. We know that dollars are scarce, and we've learned that if we don’t do something right, we might not have the dollars to fix something that's easily broken," Velasquez said.
Two more community meetings are planned to discuss the plans for the plaza. The next one is from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 29 at Plaza Guadalupe.